Back to the Real World.

Saturday, January 29th 2011, 7:34 pm
By: News On 6

Spring fever was certainly rampant today as temperatures topped out at record levels during the afternoon hours. However, it will be back to the real world over the next few days as the leading edge of some much cooler air will be arriving overnight tonight and through the day Sunday.

The actual wind shift line should be arriving in Tulsa after midnight and the cooler air will be filtering in behind that. Sunday morning will likely start off much warmer than normal for this time of year with temperatures in the 30s or low 40s to start the day. But, brisk northerly winds and cloudy skies will likely produce falling temperatures through the morning hours with only a slight recovery for the afternoon. There is also a slight chance of light rain. More importantly, the cooler temperatures will result in higher humidity levels which will mitigate the fire danger somewhat, although the brisk northerly winds and dormant vegetation still poses a risk.

Monday will be colder yet and with a slight chance of light rain, there could be a narrow window of opportunity for some icing on bridges and overpasses that morning. For the most part though, temperatures will be above freezing and any precipitation will be very light.

That will all change on Tuesday. The potential for a significant winter storm is still shaping up and as mentioned in the morning discussion, the devil will be in the details. The main storm system will not be moving from the Pacific and onto the land based observational network till later in the day Sunday and that will be when we will find out if the trends observed so far will pan out. To this point, the guidance has been remarkably consistent and although it is far too early to determine exact amounts with any degree of confidence, all current indications suggest an inch or more of liquid equivalent.

The problem is that some of that will start off as freezing rain or sleet Monday night, then transition over to snow during the day Tuesday. The timing of that transition will determine how much actual snow accumulates. Another factor will be strong northerly winds which will cause considerable drifting and temperatures which will be falling into the teens or lower 20s along with wind chill values in the single digits.

Speaking of single digits, the snow pack should result in overnight lows in the single digits for the latter part of the week followed by a slow warm-up going into the coming weekend.

As always, this is subject to change so stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot